HC acquits man of theft and rape charges, says police case was false

HC acquits man of theft and rape charges, says police case was false

Lambasting the police for concocting a case to ensure imprisonment of an innocent, a division bench of the High Court has acquitted a man who was jailed on charges of raping his (minor) wife and committing theft.

Upholding the order of a trial court which acquitted Santhosh alias Sebastian, a resident of Adugodi in the City, a division bench of Justices Mohan M Shantanagoudar and P S Dinesh Kumar recently observed that the police created a false story.

“The prosecution has not come before the court with clean hands. The entire case of the prosecution appears to be artificial and concocted. The origin and genesis of the case of the prosecution are completely suppressed,” the court observed.

The State government had appealed against the trial court order. It contended that Santhosh was arrested in September 2007 following a complaint that he stole valuables from a house in Koramangala, where he worked as a driver, while his wife Ambika (police say the marriage is not valid as the girl was a minor) worked as maid.

The prosecution also contended that the girl (wife, according to the defence) colluded with Santhosh in the crime and was taken to the Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara on September 19, 2007, where the accused asked her to file a complaint against Basavaraju, a constable attached to the Koramangala police station, of raping her, and forcibly took her signature on a blank paper.

Departmental inquiry
According to the prosecution, Santhosh then wrote a letter, using the signature, to the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), prompting an inquiry by it. A departmental inquiry by the DCP, B R Ravikanthe Gowda (prime witness No 3 in the case), followed after the KSHRC wrote to the police commissioner about the incident.

Stating that the probe revealed that the charges against the constable were baseless, the prosecution said that a charge sheet was filed against the accused in the later stages. The defence, however, argued that the victim was raped in the police station after being taken into the custody, and the SHRC had recorded statements from the accused and the victim. The case of rape against the accused (raping his minor wife) was registered only in November 2007.

The bench, accepting the defence’s case, observed: “After the police took charge of the case, a separate story is created perhaps to shield police constable, Basavaraju, from departmental action as well as criminal action.

The victim was made to state that she had lodged the complaint against the constable under threat by the accused. Such a make-believe story created by the police cannot be believed as the accused and the victim were in police custody.

“Even if the accused is not in custody, it is humanly impossible for the accused to threaten the victim while she was in custody. Without the permission of jail authorities, no one can enter the premises. The story created by the police is unbelievable.

The trial court is justified in observing that only to safeguard the interests of police constable Basavaraju, who had acted high handedly, the investigating officer has created a false story,” the bench observed further and released the accused.

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